Cindy’s midcentury modern porch remodel, including traditional random color slate

cindy's midcentury modern porch entryThe amazing Cindy is at it again. We’ve seen her house, her bathroom remodel, her Amtico kitchen floor, and her new pinch pleat curtains, and now she shares the new, welcoming entry way to her 1963 home. I love the long, low lines, and the integration of a favorite mid century surface material, random multi-color slate tiles. She also helped design the custom made planters. Read on for more of Cindy’s vintage Sunset-inspired front porch makeover –>

Cindy writes:

the entrance to cindy's 1963 house "before"
The entrance to Cindy’s 1963 house “before”

I’ll start with before photo of the front of the house — wild overgrown yews that were surely original to the house.


mid century modern porch entry
Cindy’s new entry way “after” complete rebuilding

After all the work, above and below: The new front entry.

new entry way to 1963 house "after"It was entirely rebult, the stoop area is slate – my favorite material and so appropriate to a mid century house. I then had a concrete slab poured around it. inspired by a photo I saw in a 1960s landscaping book from the library. I think it was one of those Sunset books….

cindys custom made midcentury modern style plantersThe inspiration for the planters came from a restaurant I went to in the Azores last year. I searched your site, local garden centers and googled wooden planters numerous times, but found nothing that satisfied me.

mid century modern style plantersSo I had them made by a local cabinet maker friend. They add a bit of Asian feeling I wanted for this front area.

Great job, Cindy — I love the new expansiveness of the entry way. You can sit out, have a cocktail, and watch the neighborhood go by — but the landing still has a strong geometric feel that totally suits the modern design of your home. Interestingly, I have read that midcentury ranch homes were designed in a way that they would be “open to nature” — but that generally meant open at the back. I like that you have added this friendly touch to the front of your house, but in a way that is harmonious to the front facade. The landscaping looks “friendly”, too. I have several of those hydrangea trees — a very satisfying cultivar in our part of the world, it blooms all summer long.

mid century house front entry way random slate tiles

vermont slate depot multi colored slateI have a photo of Cindy on her old/original landing (above> from when I first visited several years ago. You can see that the random multi-color slate tiles were original to the era. Cindy has replaced them, including with a tidier squared-off design on two levels. Random multi-color slate tiles are abundant in Massachusetts – and they are relatively affordable. The concrete platform below, which Cindy designed, kind of “mirrors” the shape of the garage roof adjacent (nice touch, Cindy, you have “the eye” for sure!) and adds visual contrast. The concrete is also reduced her cost (compared to laying more tile), I assume. Be sure to work with professionals or to really know what you are doing if you attempt to do this kind of job yourself: Up her in northern climates, we can get cracks in concrete due to freeze/thaw heaving if the underlayment and binding (?) of the concrete is not done properly. You also will want to talk to a professional about the pros and cons of sealing concrete.


  1. pam kueber says:

    Thank you for your comments, Gavin. To be sure, I’ve seen plenty of slate entry ways where the slate was coming up! Craftsmanship = worth its weight in gold.

  2. Cindy says:

    My slate entry area is covered so it is unlikely to be slippery, and yes, I used Gavin’s mason and he was quite particular about the slate configuration…it is really gorgeous. I learned a lot about concrete in the process; there are some cracks in the concrete L-shaped patio area and he has given me three likely reasons. I love the look of it, but for anyone who wants it, you need to know that concrete settles and cracks and has a mind of its own!

  3. Gavin Hastings says:

    Cindy…compare the photos of old and new….Wow!

    The man is an artist and this is his Art.

    And seriously, think about sticking a piece of pvc pipe during the winter where the concrete meets the drive. I would hate to see a chunk of that corner get smashed by a rogue snowplow…..

  4. Pencils says:

    Very nice! I have the same random multi-colored slate tiles on my small stoop, and a stepping-stone path of them to the driveway. This is giving me some good ideas for restoration.

  5. Squirrelgrrrl says:

    Thanks for the post about the tile! I’ve been looking for this random slate pattern forever; it’s very popular in early and mid-20th century homes here in Michigan, but impossible to find now. I’m ordering it for my foyer.

  6. Jacki Anderson says:

    So enjoyed this. I’m the youngest of 6 and my 5 older siblings lived in a 1950s cinderblock ranch home in Dearborn, MIchigan. My dad added a “breezeway” and garage to the house, and the breezeway had a slate floor. My parents were into ultra modern at the time. And my dad made several really cool pieces of furniture. They later moved to a brand new neighborhood and quad-level house in Farmington, Mi. in 1961. Our house was on the corner of the block, and there my dad used the left over slate to create a path from the front to the back of the house, with all kinds of unusual plants. We kids called it “the jungle”. We moved to NC in 1975 so thanks for the memories!

  7. Sandra says:

    Here I was thinking that the junipers in the “before” picture totally made it authentic. My 1956 neighborhood is full of junipers, and I well remember their use and smell when my 1959 -60 neighborhood was being landscaped.

    They can get overgrown, but I was thinking of using some new varieties that stay low.

  8. afromod says:

    Cindy’s landing lighting fixture is exactly like the pair I have in my kitchen. Unfortunately, I broke one shade. Any suggestions about replacing?

  9. Michelle Hodgin says:

    there is a product call Invistread that you can put on your tile. This is an anti slip product. Follow directions – Use their cleaner and then the invisitread.

  10. TappanTrailerTami says:

    Love this porch re-do with the random color slate! And…Cindy’s brick is to-die-for!

  11. Leslie says:

    I like it! I think the colored slate gives it a clean, interesting look. The shrubbery in the before picture obscured the entryway too much and made it look a bit unsafe. The after picture looks much better!

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